Why the previous master plan failed

Why the previous master plan failed

The Revised Master Plan 2015 (RMP-2015) had a grand vision for Bengaluru. But it failed on several fronts, the most apparent being its poor record in preventing mixed development. Rules have been blatantly violated through a well-oiled nexus of corrupt officials, politicians and builders to populate purely residential layouts with commercial establishments. This, say planning experts, has directly triggered traffic congestions of enormous proportions.

The experts say the RMP-2015 legalised the commercialisation of neighbourhoods by giving a faulty interpretation of the concept of ‘mixed residential.’ The Master Plan was also criticised for lack of clarity on the strategy of functioning and year-wise action plan with a time-table. It was dubbed more as a wishlist than a plan.

Only 14% of the additional road network was implemented in the last 10 years, points out civic evangelist V Ravichander. “The Master Plan assumes that 100% will get implemented. It was bound to fail because there was no coordination with the agencies involved. Besides, the plan got very static,” he adds.

Rules have been blatantly violated through a well-oiled nexus of corrupt officials, politicians and builders to populate purely residential layouts with commercial establishments

Master plans tend to run into implementation challenges, agrees Rejeet Mathews from the World Resources Institute (WRI). Road networks can be planned but acquisition of land is a challenge. Karnataka is yet to look at alternative mechanisms to access land for public use, although there are provisions for it under the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961, she points out.

For cities, a strategic spatial plan such as the one followed in London could be a model. The plan is anchored by the mayor, who coordinates with various transport agencies to implement it. Mathew feels this can work here too, but the plans here are based on ‘very dated’ legislations.

So, even as the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) is busy readying another master plan for the next 14 years, there are many who feel the idea of such a plan itself is outdated. There is now talk of a 25-year vision for Bengaluru, a strategic plan for five years and a tactical plan every year. Annually, the strategic and tactical plans are reviewed to ensure consistency with the longer vision.

Improve the existing road network by developing a network structure and define the road hierarchy. Provide additional rings/radials wherever possible and consider urban road design as an important element

Focus on providing more public transport targeting to carry 70% of trips of the city from the present 50%. Seriously consider more transport spends on provision of Metro/BRT/Monorails, etc. Push for the commuter rail system.

To bring 20-25% of planning area under transit-oriented development

Provide a freight movement plan with logistic hubs and warehouses interconnected with dedicated freight corridors

Reorganise interstate bus and rail hubs.

Consider that the pedestrian is also a road user – provide comfortable/safe facilities for

Re-establish the role of bicycles and encourage/provide for them.

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